Saturday, September 20, 2014

Month Sixteen - Saying Goodbye Part Five

  Before I get into the specifics of new information we have on Bubba's situation I wanted to share some photos of the little guy with his new quilt. My husband's grandmother makes jean quilts for all her grandkids and great-grandkids and I was blown away when I found out she made one for Bubba! It has been incredible to watch both Jake's and my extended family accept and love Bubba completely. I've been humbled and blessed to see his relationship grow with many of our loved ones. I will forever treasure these pictures and be thankful that when Bubba leaves he will have this beautiful reminder that he was loved in those early times of his life.

Ivy wanted in on the action so we got out her quilt that great-grandma made for her when she was a baby and we laid it out next to Bubba's so she could sit on it for a picture. 

Oh my goodness, it is SO hard to take pictures of a sixteen-month-old! The boy never sits still, so that is all I've got:)

  I ended up contacting our new case worker a little over a week after finding out she had been assigned to us. I hadn't heard or gotten any e-mails in those seven days so I decided to reach out myself and find out if I could get some information. It turns out that just about half the time this is what I have had to do in order to know what is going on. I keep hearing how busy case workers are and that their loads are so full, maybe they just forget to keep us foster parents in the loop? At times it definitely has made me feel frustrated and unimportant. Considering that we have been his "parents" for the first 16 months of his life it just hurts at times when you are put on the back burner. Aside from those feelings I was thankful to get a quick response and a few days later an actual visit. I am very hopeful that our new case worker will really get things done and is taking Bubba's case seriously. She told me that she is very hard on the bio parents because she needs them to know she isn't kidding around and doesn't want her time to be wasted. She seems to really know what she is doing and has a plan. If all goes as she would like then Bubba will be reunited in two months with his bio mom. He will not be moved to a family member on the reservation or another foster home with his siblings before returning to his mom because she wants the transition to his mom to happen soon. She gave me a run down of how it will all happen and we talked about getting Bubba registered in daycare so he can get used to it since he will be going when he is with his mom. So, there is an actual plan now and the steps to make it happen have begun.

  This past month has been the hardest for me. Not emotionally, I feel that I am at the point where I have accepted the fact that Bubba is leaving and have been in a "lets get things going" mode. After going through the roller coaster of thinking he was leaving right away then waiting way too long to find out what the plan really is I just feel like things need to start actually happening. I think the emotional side of it will hit more once he actually leaves but right now it's more of a physical/mental struggle. I know for a fact that part of it is because I am 8 months pregnant. Everything that comes with growing a baby and caring for a toddler at the same time is a tough deal. I am beyond thankful that I have the privilege to do it, but most days I am completely exhausted. It's also been tough to mentally prepare for all the emotions that will come with the timeline we have been given for this reunification to happen. Bubba will be leaving right around the scheduled date we will be meeting our new one. It will be lots of changes all at once.  I often say to myself, "How am I supose to be feeling about it?" I don't think there is a correct answer. I know I will be completely overjoyed that we have a new baby, sad that Bubba is gone, hopeful that his new family life is good, relieved that all the waiting is over, probably guilty for feeling relieved, confused about those conflicting emotions. Goodness, that is a lot and I am sure it will be even more when it does take place. And then there is also the thought of maybe things will not go as planned and what my case worker would like to have happen doesn't end up happening. Many things are swirling in my head and I am doing my best to keep calm and just let it go. We are doing our part to prepare and now we just have to wait. Waiting, waiting, waiting, I have never had to have more patience in my life. I am sure I have said that in previous posts but really it just keeps up!

  A few days ago a good friend and I were discussing how no matter what you are waiting for in life it is hard. We have no control and it is a tough season when you are expecting or hoping for something to happen. No matter how long or short of a time period the struggle to be patient and just wanting it to happen already can be exhausting. I am so grateful to be able to turn my anxious thoughts to God when this tug of war takes place in my mind and heart. How lucky we are as God's children to have the freedom to come to Him when we are struggling to keep our sanity in times of waiting. In him I can find rest and trust whatever he has planned. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Charlotte 6 Months

I just love the Lindeen family! The last time I took pictures of these four miss Charlotte had just arrived and was a tiny little thing. Now she is six months old and just as cute and cuddly as can be! It's been awhile since I have done an actual family shoot and it was nice to jump right in and remember how much I enjoy it. Once life settles down a bit for my family I might just open up some session times after the new year, will keep everyone posted. 

Big brother Cooper was such a sweetie with his little sister. The second shot where she is grinning as he kisses her, oh goodness!

Those chubby baby rolls, just the best!

Happy six months baby girl, you are beautiful!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Saying Goodbye Part Four

  We have almost hit the two month mark since finding out that Bubba would be leaving our family and I "think" we finally have some direction on how things are going to move forward. I found out that the new ICWA unit case worker was assigned this week and just in time for her to make it to court. Yesterday there was an emergency placement hearing which I didn't know about until six days before it happened. This hearing took place because the tribe wants Bubba and his siblings moved to family on the reservation before they go back to their mom but their mom does not want them moved until they go back to her. Nothing was officially decided at the hearing but I did hear from my old case worker who was also there, she said that the new case worker would like Bubba to be reunited with his mom within the next two months. Until then they will be looking for a home that can take in Bubba and his two siblings so they can live all together. Not sure if that is a Navajo family they are looking for or not. If they can't find a home for all three kids then they will consider having the kids moved to the reservation until their mom gets them back. I really am not sure how long they will look for a home to take all three kids but it sounds like that seems to be important to have them all living together before they go back to their mom.

  It was nice to get some info and I am hopeful that this time what we are told is actually the plan. I am anxiously waiting (trying patiently) to hear from the new case worker so we can talk face to face about it all instead of me just hearing from someone else. If what I was told is the case then really Bubba could be leaving us any day now if they find a family to take all three kids or decide to move them to the reservation.  If they do find a family I have no clue how quickly they would move the kids, a week, a few days after we find out?? There is still also the possibility that he won't leave us until he goes back to his mom. Even though we got some news there is still no definite answer, so we wait...

  I wasn't originally going to share this news because it still gives no answers. I was thinking that maybe it could be getting redundant that I share things but then nothing happens. After talking with my sister about it this morning I realized that there are many people on this journey right along with us. Many of you who have graciously prayed for Bubba and his situation and have done tangible things to help our family during this time. So many of you do care and want to be in the loop. So I decided that I would share after all. And for those of you who are considering becoming foster parents I hope it is helpful that I share these things. Getting a feel for the system and all the waiting around you get to do is something I would have really liked to hear about from other foster parents. Thanks to all of you who are in this with us and please pray now that wherever Bubba and his siblings end up going next that it is a loving environment.